How to Plan a Sikh Wedding

bouquet image by thierry planche from

The ceremony of a Sikh wedding is referred to as Anand Karaj, which means "Blissful Union." The idea behind a Sikh wedding is that each partner is joined together as equal partners in the marriage. This beautiful concept can amount to a lot of work if you've been put in charge of planning a Sikh wedding.

If you've never had any experience with this type of ceremony, don't panic. Once you get the basic information, planning the Sikh wedding will seem no more difficult than planning a traditional American wedding.

Interview the Sikh couple getting married along with their families. While there are basic guidelines to follow, customs can vary. Find out what their particular wishes are and which customs they would like you to incorporate into the wedding.

Find an officiate to perform the actual wedding ceremony. This is typically a valued member of the community or family.

Purchase the garments and jewellery needed for the wedding ceremony. This includes garments and jewellery for the bride and groom and close family and friends. The garments can vary widely, so be sure to consult with the couple and family.

Look for a suitable caterer. This is where your interview with the couple and family will come in handy. Choose a caterer that can offer the types of traditional dishes that the couple and family will enjoy. As with all weddings, cake is typically included, along with a dinner. Food can also sometimes be served before the wedding ceremony.

Book the Gurdwara for the wedding ceremony. The Gurdwara is the place of worship within the Sikh religion. The couple may already have a Gurdwara that they'd like you to book.

Rent a horse. The Sikh tradition for weddings calls for the groom to arrive to meet the families before the ceremony riding on a horse. This may or may not be a tradition the couple would like to honour, so consult with them before renting the horse.

Find a henna artist and florist. These can be a part of the Sikh wedding, depending on the traditions the couple wants to follow and their budget.

Rehearse the ceremonies with family and friends. Ardas, for example, is a Sikh prayer that the close family and friends will recite when they meet. Traditional hymns are sung as the guests enter and the reading of the Lavans is done during the wedding ceremony by a chosen person in the community or a respected member of the family.